I’d promised my latest assignment that I’d take them on another journey, but that’s going to have to be put on hold. I just had the oddest experience since the day I crossed over.

As I stood at the bar pouring drinks, I saw a man come in that just didn’t look or feel right. The dead have a certain vibe about them and this dude didn’t have that. He had a brighter aura than I’d seen since opening the tavern. I knew that aura. It was life.

I told the stranger, a man who said he was a god named Dinlas, that I’d talk to X the next time he came in. The problem is that I haven’t seen X since he went off on his quest. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. What really took me by surprise is that when this guy came into the bar, I thought it was X. This Dinlas dude was a dead ringer for X…except the dead part.

However, I think I might know where to turn for help. It’s time I went on a quest of my own. I need to visit one of the wisest beings I’ve met since coming here. It’s time to go see the “old woman”.

Most know her simply as “Mother”, I’ve always called her the old woman. Poor thing was burned at the stake in life for being a witch. But she wasn’t a witch, really. She was a healer and an herbalist. She lived in the middle of the forest, made tonics and potions for anyone who had enough money and was totally insane. Yep, she’d spent so much time alone in the woods, she’d begun to lose her mind.

The old woman made a home for herself in the forests of Andavor. She said they reminded her of home. It’s not the beautiful, misted forests you might think of when fantasizing about such places. No, this place is creepy as hell and I’m about to make a trek through that weird place. I reached up to the wall and took hold of one of the jewels. I closed my eyes and whispered her name, “Mother.”

In a flash, I was in that damn forest. It was dark and had a funky smell about it. And then, I heard them. The small, indigenous beings who roamed this planet. They were tiny, but they were vile. They were the Govalea. A race whose average height was about 2-foot tall, had dark pink skin, and razor-sharp teeth. I had to get past them in order to get to the old woman.

“I am Lillith and have been granted eternal safe passage.”, I cried out. “I seek the wisdom of the mother.”

One of the Govalea came out from behind a tree. The stench that emanated from it was almost unbearable. Its tiny black eyes traveled the length of my body, saliva oozing from one of its teeth. “Aw yes,” it hissed in a shrill voice, “the one the mother considers a child. She’s expecting you, Innkeep. Safe passage is granted.” Though I knew I was safe, these things still made me very uncomfortable.

As I made my way through the woods, I could feel the beady eyes of the Govalea upon me. They followed my every move, waiting for me to make a mistake. One wrong move and I’d probably never be seen in the tavern again.

I followed the almost invisible path through the woods. It wound around trees and rocks, rivers and swamps. It seemed to take forever to get to the old woman’s cabin, but that was just the way she wanted it. Her’s wasn’t a place you could just pop in on.

I soon saw her little cabin in the distance. The smell of smoke drifting through the air. I neared the door and heard an old, familiar voice. “Hurry up and get yer arse in here. I ain’t got all day, child.”

I stepped through the door and saw a bent and gnarled figure standing before the fire. Though I knew it wasn’t possible, I swore she’d aged a thousand years since the last time we’d met.

She looked up at me and smiled. “Aw, sweet child. It’s been far too long. Come, sit. Let me get ya a cup o’ tea.”

I didn’t want to accept, but I knew better. If the old woman offered you anything, you took it. You didn’t ask questions, you just accepted and went on.

“So,” she said as she poured my tea, “I understand ya had a stranger show up at the bar. Someone who didn’t fit in, aye?”

“You’ve already heard about that?” It always amazed me at how much this woman knew in so little time.

“Aye, I hear he’s a god from the other Verse.”

“Wait, what? The other Verse? What the hell is that?”

The old woman walked over to the table and placed my tea down in front of me. “Aye, you wouldn’t be knowin’ of the other Verse, now would ya? I keep forgettin’ that ya haven’t been around as much as I ‘ave.”

I sipped at my tea and instantly my head began spinning. “Damn it, old woman. What the hell did you just give me?”

“Oh, nothin’ much. It’s just some Proxillian herbs, a little Banaleran sap, and a couple o’ mushroom caps from the mountains of Exolia. You’ll be takin’ a little nappie poo here in a bit, I suggest ya lie down.”

She helped me to the cot on the other side of the room. My head was spinning so hard I had to close my eyes. I could feel the old woman lying me down, but my mind was leaving this world without me.

“Just relax, child,” I heard the old woman say as my world went dark. I was about to embark on a journey outside the Multi-Verse.

 

Image by ImaArtist from Pixabay

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